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Mindfulness versus Meditation


Mindfulness and meditation embody many similarities and can overlap, but the terms are not exactly interchangeable. Let’s take a closer look.


Meditation typically refers to a formal, seated meditation practice. Meditation is actually a formal meditation practice. Many types of meditation focus on opening your heart, expanding your awareness, calming your mind, experiencing inner peace, and so on. Here are some examples that we offer monthly:

  • Breath-awareness meditation

  • Loving-kindness meditation

  • Mantra-based meditation

  • Visualization meditation

  • Guided meditation

I use meditation as an intentional practice where I focus to bring calmness, concentration, awareness, and emotional balance. Seated meditation usually begins with deep breathing in a comfortable position, bringing all your awareness to your breath and consciously guiding the mind toward an anchor or a single point of focus. In meditation, you typically spend a focused amount of time tuned inward.

Simple Mantra Meditation: So Hum

Try this seated meditation whenever you want.

  • Close your eyes and take time to settle in by taking a few deep, cleansing breaths.

  • Start to repeat the mantra So Hum to yourself silently, slowly synching the rhythm of your breath to the mantra.

  • As you inhale, silently repeat the word "So".

  • As you exhale, silently repeat the word "Hum".

  • Continue breathing slowly and aligning your mantra to your breath, being careful not to rush your breath if you notice your mantra speeding up.

  • Each time you notice your mind wander, simply draw your attention back to the mantra - So Hum.

  • When your time is up, gently release the mantra, taking a moment to sit quietly before opening your eyes.


Mindfulness


Mindfulness is the simple act of paying attention and noticing and being present in whatever you’re doing. When you are actively mindful, you notice the world around you. You notice how your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, movements, and effects play on those around you.


You can practice mindfulness anytime, anywhere, and with anyone by being fully engaged here and now. How many times has your mind wandered from an activity to other thoughts, desires, fears, or wishes? When you’re mindful, you are actively involved in the activity with all of your senses, in the present moment. Over and over you gently bring yourself back to the conversation or task at hand, instead of allowing your mind to wander. Where meditation is usually practiced for a specific amount of time, mindfulness can be applied to any situation throughout the day.


Here are informal mindfulness practices you can try any time of the day:


Any time you complete a simple task—like brushing your teeth or washing your dishes, tune into your five senses—sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. For each sense, name two to three examples of the things you notice as you complete the task. For example, when you’re brushing your teeth, you may notice:

  • The flavor of the toothpaste on your tongue.

  • The smell of the toothpaste coming through your nostrils.

  • The cooling sensations.

  • The way the toothbrush moves over your teeth and gums.

  • The sound of the bristles moving back and forth across your teeth.

  • Your reflection in the bathroom mirror and the lighting in the bathroom.

  • The tingling sensation of the toothpaste on your gums and teeth.

This practice will help you tune into your surroundings and increase your present-moment awareness. If you practice this with everyday activities - even those you have done a thousand times - you will begin to notice new things about the space you are in, and to inhabit your life and body more deeply.


Practicing mindfulness during formal meditation supports and enriches your ability to be mindful in your everyday life. When you practice formal meditation, you strengthen your focus, presence, and mindfulness in every other part of your life. These feed and support each other, but meditation and mindfulness are two different things.


Join us HERE for our mindfulness + meditation classes.

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